Supplement warning: Man suffered cyanide poisoning from potentially deadly apricot kernels

A 67-year-old man whose identity has not been revealed, was taking nearly 17.32 milligrams of cyanide every day.

This is enough to raise levels of cyanide in the blood to around 25 times above the acceptable levels, the authors of the study published in the journal BMJ Case Reports have claimed.

Last year the UK government issued a warning that apricot kernels contain cyanide and can be deadly.

The Food Standards Agency attempted to deter people from buying packets of ground apricot stones which claim they could help to treat cancer.

Experts warned a dose of thirty apricot stones is enough to kill someone and smaller doses could cause side effects such as numb fingers.

Doctors noticed the man had ‘abnormally low’ levels of oxygen in his body while under anaesthetic for routine surgery.

Blood tests revealed he had high levels of cyanide in his body.

The man said he had been taking two teaspoons of home-made apricot kernel extract every day for the past five years.

He had also been taken three tablets of Novodalin - a herbal fruit kernel supplement.

The report said: “Apricot kernel extract (ake) is a popular complimentary medicine, and is marketed as a preventative medicine for cancer.

“This case report outlines a presentation of chronic cyanide toxicity, detected as a result of low oxygen saturation readings.”

The man who cycled more than 70km a week, said he had no history of heart disease or respiratory disease but was recovering from prostate cancer.

The doctors treating the man said they were concerned about his fruit kernel diet.

However, they said he opted to continue taking the supplement.

The report said: “Our patients remained asymptomatic during the periods with and without ake ingestion following his minor surgery.

“Despite  conveying our concerns regarding the continued ingestion of ake and being satisfied that our viewpoint was understood, the patient elected to continue self-administering ake.”

The report summarised that apricot kernel extract contains ‘high levels of cyanide’ and has scientifically unproven but publicised efficacy as a cancer preventative.”

It also stated that doctors will not often consider taking a history of ‘complementary’ medicine use in their patients.

The FSA urged people not to take apricot kernel supplements.

This comes after a man 62, lost feeling in arms and legs after doing THIS for fifteen years.



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